Kieron Monks is a reporter and editor for Palestine Monitor. He’s written pieces in the publication accusing “Zionist lobbies” of “smearing” such heroic figures as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein. Finkelstein, it should be noted, asserts that the Holocaust has been exaggerated and exploited by Jews to justify Israeli human rights violations and crimes against humanity, and supported Hezbollah’s “armed resistance against the Israeli Army in Lebanon.” In the same essay, Monks accuses the Jewish people of having transitioned from “oppressed” to “oppressor”, and – even more shamefully – accuses Jewish groups of desperately “digging deeper for evidence of their victim-hood.”
In another piece for Palestine Monitor, entitled “Human Currency”, in 2009, he argues that Palestinians should not negotiate with Israel, and that force is the only thing which Israelis understand.
So, with such a prolific anti-Israel pedigree, and palpable hostility towards the Jewish community, I wasn’t surprised to see that Comment is Free recently published his essay, on Nov. 19, Palestine aid models must change.
It was these five words in the following passage that initially got my attention:
“The impact of foreign interests can be clearly seen in PA budgets that allocate 10 times more money to security – suppressing resistance to the occupation – than to agriculture, which could be the backbone of the Palestinian economy.”
This passage really caught my eye. With language, context is everything, but, given his past commentary, its seems clear that it should be read as criticism of the Palestinian security forces attempts to combat extremism, violence, and terrorism against Israelis – a minimal requirement for coexistence in the region. The words “resistance to the occupation” often are a thinly veiled euphemism for the right to “armed resistance.”
Another passage in his essay lends support to my conclusions. He says:
Individual NGOs have attempted to assert their independence from donors. Many reject USAID funding due to its political demands, which preclude assistance for projects that could benefit people with affiliations to undesirable political groups. The Dalia Association has introduced a “Village Decides” scheme, focused on institution building, which empowers local communities to invest funding as they see fit, without conditions.
Of course, Monks fails to inform his readers what he means by “undesirable political groups.” He’s referring to U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) guidelines requiring NGOs receiving funds to pledge “not to promote or engage in violence, terrorism, bigotry, or the destruction of any state, nor … make sub-grants to any entity that engages in these activities.”
In the mind of Kieron Monks, requirements that NGOs – who ostensibly are trying to promote peace and human rights in the region – shouldn’t promote terrorism or anti-Semitism are, naturally, a betrayal of the revolution.
Monks – who fetsishizes violent resistance by the most reactionary political movements, and peddles hateful narratives about Jews, yet still styles himself a brave progressive voice – is the perfect embodiment of the Guardian’s consistent betrayal of true liberal values.
There was a time when liberal papers (like the Guardian) were at the forefront in the fight against anti-Semitism. There was a time when such papers could be relied upon to be in fierce opposition to totalitarianism and unwavering in their defense of democracies – and never mistook the former for the latter. And, there was a time when liberal papers would see through the thin veneer of folks such as Kieron Monks and see him as the reactionary that he is.
I long for the return of that kind of crusading and fearless liberal voice in the UK.